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What Is Fashion Forecasting: How Fashion Brands Predict New Styles?

Fashion forecasting and social media are a new way forward to looking towards the fashion industry.

Fashion Forecasting is the process of predicting new styles and silhouettes that dictate the future of fashion.

Fashion trend forecasters, Designers, Stylists, and other fashion professionals use trend forecasting tools to predict the future of fashion to bring the best output of their art.

Various Fashion Forecasting Companies around the world lead to the best fashion decisions with the fashion forecasting services they provide to different brands.

Taking references from Brands like WGSN and Trendspotter, we explain the forecasting terms, how to become a forecaster, and the roles and responsibilities and guide you through it.

What is Fashion Forecasting?

Fashion forecasting conducts itself as a base in different fields of fashion as they provide the adequate research that fashion professionals look for.

Fashion Forecasting is a Fashion job that involves researching and analyzing upcoming trends based on consumer data and buying trends.

Fashion and trends are a regular source of inspiration for millions of professionals and thousands of industries and forecasting what a customer will buy tomorrow holds have to be in responsible and analytical hands.

Isn’t it stunning to know the fact that what we’re wearing today was already decided by a trend forecaster a year (or two) back, and currently, he is on his journey to predict what we would wear in the coming years? 

Fashion designers, stylists, editors, and journalists take notes from fashion trend agencies like WGSN, TrendSpotter, Fashionscoop, etc.

Types of Fashion Forecasting

Fashion Forecasting is broadly bifurcated into two types:

  • Short-Term Forecasting
  • Long-Term Forecasting

Short-Term Forecasting

Short-term forecasting, as the name suggests, refers to a shorter time period. Inspired by pop culture and hot trends these trends are often termed FADs.

They’re trendy, an upgraded and eye-string of the classic version of classic styles. These fashion trends are targeted at a smaller group of audiences as compared to others. 

Long-Term Forecasting

Long-term trend forecasting is well researched for a longer period, these are the styles that stay for longer and are for a broader audience. Long-term trend forecasting lasts at least two years or more.

Demographics play an essential role in shaping long-term trend forecasting. There are marketing consultants who work with Fashion/trend forecasters for detailed research.

Short-Term Forecasting vs Long-Term Forecasting

Short-Term ForecastingLong-Term Forecasting
• Mini trends that last for a shorter period, 6 months to a year.• Trends that stay for long, Classic styles.
• Concentrated target audience.• The broad target audience stays for a long, 2-5 years.
• Majorly focus on a specific cut, color, fabric, or texture.• They work on different stories than short-term trend forecasts.
• Trendy Styles• More accurate research according to customer data.

Importance of Fashion Forecasting

Importance of Fashion Forecasting

Fashion trend Forecasting as a designation is not only used in the Fashion industry but generally in all aspects of retail. It plays a huge in dictating what’s in and what’s not. 

These are some of the aspects why fashion forecasting is important:

  • Extensive research, customer data analysis, and a keen eye for picking up key points that would prove apt for upcoming trends is a responsible and skillful job.
  • To cope with the ever-changing world where every trend seems to be a FAD, all thanks to digitalization, predicting pieces that would be picked and will last for a longer time.
  • A helpful tool for retailers and fashion designers who create garments and products. 
  • The more they focus on the forecast, the more they are relatable to customers, hence more sales since being able to bring the collections more relatable to the target audience. Fashion Merchandiser also has a key role in bringing those trends into retail.
  • Work on spring-summer, autumn-winter collections, depending on past customer data.

Pros and Cons of Trend Forecasting

In today’s ultra-competitive fashion business where we encounter new brands quite every day, Fashion forecasting comes as a huge benefit to brands of all levels.

If done properly, Fashion Forecasting provides tremendous results to brands that it provides services.

These are some Pros and Cons of the Trend Forecasting:

Pros:

  • It gives you valuable insights into future prospects. It involves insights into real-time data predicting future demands.
  • It gives you a starting point for your project, research, and collection, and you can easily check the graph of your predictions increasing while giving better results.
  • It will also decrease the cost of products that do no good and save a lot of time and money.

However, you also need to know that Fashion Forecasting has some cons too:

Cons:

  • Remember that Forecasts are never 100% accurate, however, you get better at predicting points, it’s never the same for all brands too.
  • It’s a lot of resources as it involves data gathering, organizing, analysis, and coordination. Hence, it’s time taking too.
  • If you hire a team of planners, that process includes forecasters and researchers that involve a sum of money. 

Who is a Fashion Forecaster?

fashion forecaster is the one who predicts colors, fabrics, textures, materials, prints, graphics, beauty/grooming, accessories, footwear, street style, and looks that will be showcased on the runways. They look for styles that prophetic and relatable notions to capture a customer’s mood.

What Is the Role of a Fashion Forecaster?

A fashion forecaster is to predict styles, color, texture, fabric, and interior trends based on customer data and buying research. As a fashion trend forecaster, these are his/her job responsibilities:

  • They predict what’s going to be there on the runways and analyze them.
  • Coming spring, summer, autumn, and winter trends for every year.
  • Examining emerging trends for shorter and longer periods.
  • Checking up on which trends are influencing customer choices.
  • Developing ideas for fashion and business strategies, retail.
  • Assisting designers in bringing something yet relatable helps in increasing sales.

Fashion trend forecasting is just not about choosing or predicting fashion trends, a lot of the research depends on physiological, cultural, and sociological shifts that play a major role in Forecasting fashion.

Skills Required for Fashion trend Forecasting 

These are a few skills you must acquire as a trend forecaster before you step into fashion trend forecasting:

  • Should have a keen interest in past and current fashion trends.
  • Thorough knowledge of the fashion industry.
  • Keep track of the competition in the working fashion houses.
  • Good networking and communication skills.
  • Be imaginative and creative.
  • Have the right I.T skills.
  • Strategic Research is the key.
  • Provide operational and creative support to the designers and professionals.

How to Do Fashion Forecasting in 3 Steps?

A trend forecaster and designer Geraldine Wharry have a future fashion trend forecasting agency based in London mentions 3 steps for effective trend forecasting: 

  1. Hunt
  2. Identity
  3. Gather

1. Hunt

This is the initial step that involves picking up key points, and analysis while also using your intuition and research process. Work on new developments, key designs, colors, textures, prints, materials, patterns, customer data, trending products, etc.

This can be done by reviewing key ideas, brainstorming, and discussing these points with other researchers. 

2. Identity

This is the trend research where macro trends and micro trends are decided ahead of time. This drives generally where the key themes are decided.

This includes content, visuals, aesthetics, colors, and textures, the results can be diverse and will be clubbed into specific categories. They also can be raw concepts to work on.

3. Gather

Once the key trends are identified, you need to apply them to the products and designs that follow.

Every popular article has a touch of these updated trends, visuals, aesthetics, colors, and textures we spoke about earlier. Make sure to add the major key points that are also solution-based. 

What Are the Different Forecasting Techniques Brands Use?

Different Forecasting Techniques Brands Use

Most of the fashion forecasting situations are handled by fashion forecasting agencies. 

These agencies use different research methods to get to what their clients want. Listed below are some of these techniques:

Let’s understand in brief what they mean.

1. Delphie Techniques

RAND Corporation developed this technique in the 60s when they used the questionnaire method to deduct results.

This method involves the separation of a group of researchers who fills out a different questionnaire which is used to formulate another questionnaire and then are asked to re-evaluate them until the outcome is niched down.

2. Scenario Writing

Starts with a scenario where the researcher develops different outcomes of the same scenario and the decision-makers choose the most relatable outcomes from the above.

Business start-ups that have fewer track records to present to potential collaborators use this technique as documentation of the best possibilities.

3. Time-Series Trend Forecasting

Most trends forecasting companies use this technique to research forward.

It uses data analysis based on different time zones, and accumulated data over time to study customer behavior and understand sales trends.

4. Subjective

The subjective fashion forecasting method utilized thoughts and feelings.

It involves brainstorming and coming up with problem-solving ideas with being empathic towards the buyer to understand their choices.

What Factor Directly Influences Fashion Forecasting?

Fashion trend forecasting is a study of future demand for styles, trends, colors, and textures.

Textile Specialists prepare and research for 2 years before generating guidelines for designers, market researchers, and the retail industry to bring relatable and sellable collections to the audience they sell to.

Based on long and short-term strategizing, trend forecasting bridges the gap between market needs and what is being offered to the market, as a cycle.

The factors that directly influence the Fashion trend forecasting process are:

  • Cultural
  • Social
  • Lifestyle

These shifts are regulated what needs to sell in the future. Studying and foreseeing future social and cultural movements is one of the top prioritized sectors to be paid attention to.

Importance of Fashion Forecasting

Lifestyle and cultural changes, modernization, digital, and innovation play a key role as with fashion forecasting we’re moving towards artificial intelligence and updated forecasting techniques making Trend forecasting an easy tool for the fashion professional in this industry.

In addition, another quotient that adds to it is understanding the lifecycle of a product, the Fashion Cycle as we call it, and how they impact the lives of the target audience, to whom we aspire to sell. 

How do brands predict a new Fashion Trend?

Let’s read what is the Fashion cycle before diving into deeper insights into how brands pick new fashion trends.

The development of any new fashion trend is based on the aspects mentioned below:

  • High Culture 
  • Pop Culture
  • Low Culture

High Culture 

High Culture revolves around ART as a product, such as photography, architecture, design, painting, and music.

It could be easily explained by how Louis Vuitton collaborates with different artists and designers to bring a specific collection, there’s an inspiration and a segmented set of audience who abides by it.

Pop Culture

Pop Culture is appreciated by a larger audience, young adults and teens who’re more into experimenting and are hoarders of FADs.

They’re also a representation of art and cultural movements. Celebrity culture also plays a key role in framing Pop culture as they are huge media influencers, and a lot of their fans and followers get inspired. 

Low Culture

Low culture, known as Subculture involves street style movements like hippie, emo, and gothic movements. The target audience yet again gets filtered till we reach here.

These cultures frame a lot of data that helps fashion forecasters predict the current ad upcoming trends.

When Fashion Forecasting Is Applied to the Market

This is how a Forecasted product is brought into the market:

  • It starts with a high-end or a designer-based product that is brought into life after running different forecasting techniques. You will find them in Designer boutiques and high fashion retail stores like Balenciaga, LV, Burberry, Gucci, etc. 
  • Once it enters the retail stores, the buying trends are being studied by the fashion analysts who keep track of the performance of products.
  • Well-performing fashion products then are mass-produced by smaller retailers to cater to the other customer domain. This also extends the product lifecycle in general.

For Example, The Chunky Sneaker trend was quite a hit initially at high-end retail stores, which then was imbibed by smaller retail outlets and now even local manufacturers sell similar products inspired by the high street sneaker trend.

Fashion Weeks and Their Role in Trend Prediction

Runway shows and fashion weeks play a huge role in setting up any trend. As we know they are the first source of information we receive in the context of what to expect in future months.

Types of Fashion Stylist : Runway Stylist

Being the source of foreseen trends on streets and runway, social media is also playing a huge role in making fashion trends go viral, people can now access these shows from any part of the world, and we instantly get to know what customers like and whatnot.

The Relationship Between Fashion Trends and Social Media

Social media is the first place to find industry insiders, first attendees, critics, and editors, people who solely follow the brands, which has widened the reach of runway fashion influence.

Fashion Influencers also cover stories for different designers as they get to attend their shows, online or offline.

This has been a major positive shift that has helped brands communicate their stories to people in a better way, predicting styles that are customer-friendly is easier and faster as Social media is also one of the tools fashion forecasters use to research coming trends.

Image recognition technology and hashtags have changed the way people search for their desired items.

Did you know more than 100 million images and 400 stories on Instagram which is a single social media platform?

Social media has three major impacts on Fashion Industry: 

  • Helps to increase Time to market pressure.
  • Amplify trends that are likable and get instant customer reaction.
  • It makes it harder for brands to predict the fashion cycle.

Check out the Impact of Social Media on Fashion Industry to get a full insight into how social media is bringing change in the way we see the fashion industry.

FAQs

What Are Some Free Trend Forecasting Resources?

Some of the best free apps that help with trend forecasting are:

  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Trend Zoom
  • F-Trend
  • Trend Council
  • Texture App
  • WWD
  • Who What Wear

How Do Fashion Designers Forecast Fashion Trends?

A Fashion Designer can always refer to apps like Pinterest and Instagram and see for popular trends fashion influencers are promoting, the latest design collections of different brands can also help them understand the trends that will stay. This process of research is called “Bottom-Up” forecasting and includes monitoring the target market and consumption data.

Conclusion

Fashion Forecasting is going to be relevant, now and forever. if you plan to start today.

The need for predicting current trends and fashion and to be able to foresee what’s the future that lies ahead will be relevant till the retail industry flourishes.

Ever wondered why Y2K aesthetic is back, or if fresh trends are being set? The curiosity to know how and what we would wear in coming years could be a fundamental starting point of why you should pursue Fashion trend forecasting as a subject.

Trend Forecasting is a major tool for global giants like Zara where the core approach is based on the latest trends. One of the reasons why Zara is so supported by Fashion influencers is that it is a fashion brand.

Fashion design and retail will always be co-dependent on Fashion forecasting data. This role and the importance of this role will only have a way forward in a rising graph.

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